Around the Nation: Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Blue Jays/Marlins Trade

Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Links to some of the best analysis and opinions from across Baseball Nation.

MLB Daily Dish is your source for MLB trade rumors, transactions and signings, but that doesn't mean we're the only SB Nation site covering the Hot Stove League. With every site in Baseball Nation living up to the "pro quality, fan perspective" mantra, it would be impossible to highlight all the great offerings in one post, but here are links and excerpts to some of the best transaction-related pieces:

If Not Zack Greinke, Who? - Mike Bates, Halos Heaven

Fortunately for the Angels, if they do miss out on Greinke, they have a safety net in the form of a relatively deep pool of secondary options. Here's who I would target, and why:

1) Brandon McCarthy

He's only healthy about half the time, but when he is, McCarthy is one of the pitchers on the market best equipped to take advantage of the Angels' incredible outfield defense and ballpark. His strikeouts have fallen off, but he's incredibly stingy with walks and home runs. A shift to a smaller ballpark would definitely hurt him, but Anaheim is one of the few places he could go and continue to excel. He should be amenable to a short deal because of his injury history, providing Los Angeles with more flexibility going forward. As a bonus, you keep him out of the hands of the A's, who are rumored to still be interested, even after re-signing Bartolo Colon.

Are The Washington Nationals Players In The Zack Greinke Market? - Patrick Reddington, Federal Baseball

The Nationals are known to have previously courted the 29-year-old former Kansas City Royals' starter who pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and LA Angels last year in his ninth MLB season. The Nats made a play for Greinke when the Royals were taking offers for the right-handed, one-time Cy Young Award winner back in December 2010, but the pitcher spurned the Nationals' advances, explaining at the time that he thought the Brewers had a chance of winning sooner than Nats.

If Not Josh Hamilton, Who? - Mike Bates, Brew Crew Ball

Here are five guys on whom I'd much rather spend the money it would take to sign Hamilton:

1 Adam LaRoche

Corey Hart wasn't a good defensive right fielder, but he was fairly questionable around first as well. LaRoche can certainly fill the role of the lefty thumper that Christina advocated. He's an average defender at first and has been durable aside from labrum surgery in 2011. And he'll cost a whole lot less and come for fewer years than Hamilton.

Have the Blue Jays Improved Enough? - Blake Murphy, Beyond the Box Score

The Jays got just 5.2 WAR from pitchers last year, a total that should be exceeded by Johnson and Morrow alone. If Buehrle and Romero can provide league-average innings as a duo, even a replacement-level fifth starter gives this team a six-win improvement from the rotation. The AL’s fourth-worst run prevention should be much improved.

The lineup just looks better from top to bottom, didn’t lose much in the field and gained quite significantly at the top of the order. Bautista and Encarnacion should have plenty of opportunities to knock in extra runs, while the everyday lineup shifts should be a thing of the past. A league-average AL offense should be above average next year.

Add it up and there’s no doubting the Jays will be much, much better. Is 90 wins unreasonable? I don’t think it is.

Why Are the Miami Marlins Shopping Yunel Escobar? - Michael Jong, Fish Stripes

Rather than sell very low on a player who has had plenty of highs in the past, the Marlins should consider holding Escobar for at least one more season. With his price so low, there is no reason for the team to bail quickly on him, especially since the roster has very little guaranteed money invested as it is. If Escobar improves, which is the most likely scenario, then the team at worst retains his trade value heading into next season and possibly improves it. If he struggles, the Marlins can cut ties easily.

DRB Mailbag: Should The Rays Trade For Kendrys Morales? - Michael Valancius, D Rays Bay

I believe the real question here for the Rays is if they feel that Kendrys Morales is good enough to play either first base or designated hitter on a daily basis. After a great 2009 season and a solid start to 2010, Morales suffered an injury during a home run celebration. The injury costed him significant time and left his future in doubt. Prior to the 2012 season, the Angels tendered him a contract through arbitration, a risky but not unprecedented move given his injury status. He responded with a solid overall year for the Angels, putting up a .273/.320/.467 line, good for a 118 wRC+ and 1.8 fWAR. Compared with the dismal performances of Luke Scott and Carlos Pena, Morales' season is acceptable.

Alfredo Aceves Here To Stay? - Ben Buchanan, Over the Monster

Even just based on baseball concerns it doesn't seem like there's much room on the team for Alfredo Aceves. Add in the awfulness that happened off the field, and the decision to let him go seems even easier. Maybe the team is holding out for a trade in the next week, but if that doesn't happen it's not even worth the arbitration money to keep him around through spring training.

Potential Minor League Free Agent Targets - Brandon Warne, Twinkie Town

SP Joel Pineiro - The former groundball wizard was healthy enough to make a handful of appearances in Baltimore’s organization, and quite frankly didn’t disappoint. Granted, Norfolk and the Gulf Coast Orioles are a long way from the big leagues, but Pineiro has been there before and succeeded. I would be surprised if he signed with a big league team not named the Twins in the offseason, assuming he still has the desire to play. He’d possibly make a nice number five starter.

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